Welcome to Sunshine and Stilettos!
A collection of stories and images from a traveler, serial expat, lover of culture and lawyer turned travel photographer and writer.
Born in Ethiopia and raised in Côte d’Ivoire, I had my first passport by age six, lived on three continents, and survived three school systems (French, British, American).
In 2008, I decided that life was too short not to do work I love every single day. I took a leap of faith and left my legal career behind to travel long term–six weeks was the initial plan–and find inspiration. Six weeks turned into five months. Five months led me to a new path.
During the last seven years traveling long term in the Caribbean region–living in Jamaica, Grenada and Belize, among other places–I discovered my long-time love for writing and photography and for documenting life, culture and people in different parts of the world. I had finally figured out my purpose: telling stories, through words and images.
Becoming a Travel Photographer, Writer & Guidebook Author
Sunshine and Stilettos launched in 2009. My initial aim was to share photographs and stories with friends on my life as a solo female traveler on the road.
In time, my blog and Flickr collections grew from being a past time to attracting tourism boards, photo editors as well as a wide audience of avid travelers.
A year after being on the road and landing assignments as a self-taught photographer, my images were published online in the UK Guardian, and in print on Lonely Planet Travel Magazine. A few months later, I was commissioned for a major photo shoot for the Grenada Tourism Board, for their website and print ads.
In 2010, I took a travel photography course to enhance my knowledge on the business of photography – from social networking to publication.
All of these experiences and hard work led to a bigger road and a dream come true: becoming a travel guidebook author for MOON Travel Guidebooks. My first edition of MOON BELIZE (Avalon Travel/Perseus Books) published in November 2013, in full color for the first time. I also had the pleasure of landing the book cover photo, in addition to providing all the interior photography.
In 2013, on the heels of my first guidebook, I began authoring a second title for Moon Guides, MOON BELIZE CAYES, focusing on Belize’s offshore islands. More recently, in March 2015, I was assigned to write a first edition of MOON DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, to be released in Fall 2016.
Aside all my guidebook work, I’ve had the honor of taking on several travel writing and photography assignments–from print to web, front of book to feature articles–as well as editing for major publications, and I saw my work published in several outlets, including CNN Travel, MorningCalm Magazine, BBC Travel, AFAR, New York Magazine, Delta Sky, Every Day With Rachael Ray, and more.
In 2016, I was honored with the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Marcia Vickery-Wallace Award for Excellence in Journalism–a highlight of my career.
Among my more recent successes: a partnership with the Dominican Republic Tourism Board, who hired me to strategize on, revise and write 100% of the text for their newly redesigned website GoDominicanRepublic.com (releasing in 2018); and a position as Editor-in-Chief of Destination Belize Magazine, Belize’s number one tourism publication from the Belize Tourism Industry Association.
My Blogging Philosophy
Sunshine and Stilettos (and my photography) will continue to be a place to inspire cultural and adventure travel to the Caribbean. I write about what moves and don’t necessarily stick to “top 10” lists. I believe in variety, and every week won’t be the same. My purpose is to pull you into my screen and make you feel as if you’re right there with me. To show that the world is a beautiful place, and much safer than people believe, even for solo female travelers.
When my visits are sponsored, I will clearly state this. Rest assured that I only post positive reviews when I truly back a place or activity.
My mission remains to share and show the beauty that surrounds, reflected in the people and cultures I encounter. To push for responsible and immersive travel. And to show that it’s never too late to pursue what you truly love.
To view my most-read blog articles as well as some of my favorite pieces (including photography), please click here. A complete list of my published work is here. You can also view my main website and portfolio, or just daydream through my images from around the Caribbean region.